Now, Voyager: Fiat Chrysler Blows the Cobwebs Off an Old Minivan Nameplate

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The Dodge Grand Caravan isn’t dead yet, but minivan buyers in the market for a low-end people mover will have a new option come 2020. Earlier this week, FCA announced the reintroduction of the Voyager — a nameplate that began life as a full-size Plymouth van in the 1970s before morphing into a front-drive minivan for 1984.

Following Plymouth’s death, the Chrysler brand fielded a short-wheelbase Voyager model until 2003 in North America, with Grand Voyagers (LWB Town & Countrys) serving overseas until 2016.

While FCA doesn’t intend the new Voyager to be a cheap, bare-bones stripper, it will replace the lower-rung trim levels of the Pacifica, giving fleet operators something to consider once the Grand Caravan shuffles off into the afterlife.

For the record, FCA claims the Grand Caravan will stage a return for the 2020 model year, Automotive News reports. The model’s discontinuation date is not yet set in stone.

Offered in L, LX, and LXI versions (the latter trim serving as a fleet-only model), the Voyager’s presence means the elimination of the Pacifica L and LX trims. Rumors still abound that the Pacifica will add an all-wheel drive option in the near future in the hopes of stemming the exodus of minivan buyers to the crossover realm.

What can you expect from a Voyager? Well, fleet buyers can look forward to leatherette seats, with L and LX customers receiving cloth chairs, FCA’s familiar Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 (287 horsepower, 282 lb-ft), a nine-speed automatic, a 7-inch touchscreen running the company’s Uconnect 4 infotainment system, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

FCA’s Stow ‘n Go second-row seating will only be available to fleet buyers, where the chair-hiding feature pairs with standard remote start and rear-seat sunshades. All other buyers have access to an optional Stow ‘n Place roof rack, rear-seat DVD player (LX only), and SafetyTec Group driver-assist features. That bundle includes rear park assist with stop, blind-spot monitoring, and Rear Cross Path detection.

As for pricing, FCA’s keeping that under its hat for now. The 2019 Pacifica line starts at $28,730, with the Grand Caravan starting a couple hundred dollars lower (assuming you’re unable to wrangle big incentives from the dealer). Expect a similar, or perhaps slightly lower, floor price for a vehicle FCA bills as a “a no-compromise minivan at an unbeatable value.”

News of the nameplate’s resurrection comes on the heels of this spring’s announcement of a September shift cut at FCA’s Windsor, Ontario minivan plant. Through the end of May, Pacifica sales fell 29 percent in the United States. The Grand Caravan, which still outsells its more modern stablemate by a wide margin, saw its volume drop 15 percent in the first five months of 2019.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Gtem Gtem on Jul 01, 2019

    I actually like that "cheapened" simplified rear bumper design. I really like how these look and drive, strongly considered one for our family but the first 2 years have some pretty abysmal reliability/quality marks, even compared to the older Caravan which itself is not exactly a shining star in this regard. Was most spooked by the stop/start acting up on people while at highway speeds.

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Jul 02, 2019

      @gtem I remember when both my daughter AND daughter-in-law went shopping for minivans, separately and at different times. And they also looked at the offerings from Fiatsler. For whatever reasons they ended up buying what they did. And since we are using that 2013 Odyssey right now as my wife’s DD since our daughter is on her six-week sea cruise, we have no complaints. It is an EX-L and the leather gets a wee bit hot when the van is parked in the El Paso, TX sun for any length of time. But ride, handling, low NVH levels, and comfort. That Odyssey has it in spades. Smooth, tight and easy going. Ironically, when it is time to trade, both my daughter and daughter-in-law will be replacing these vans with an SUV or CUV. I’m guessing here but my daughter may end up with a new AWD Highlander, and my daughter-in-law probably with a new AWD Sequoia.

  • MKizzy MKizzy on Jul 01, 2019

    So instead of making a modest investment to refresh the Dodge Caravan’s looks and modernizing its interior, FCA decides to further cheapen Chrysler’s upscale Pacifica minivan by bringing back the nameplate of its cheapest ever minivan to disguise its lack of investment. The only way this makes sense is if the Pacifica is about to be restyled to differentiate it from the so-called Voyager which will soldier on with the current styling. And where are the new vehicles? FCA might as well kill Chrysler and send the next-gen Pacifica to Dodge.

    • See 1 previous
    • Gtem Gtem on Jul 02, 2019

      There's no way they're putting any money into the old Caravan platform at this point, they're going to keep cranking them out and printing cash until a new IIHS safety test gets cooked up or demand finally starts to dry up (I don't see the latter happening any time soon tbh)

  • Wjtinfwb I'd like to see a Ford/Mazda relationship restarted. Both companies have some car guys keeping the flame alive and could develop a sports car slightly bigger than a Miata and pick and choose from each other's parts bin to put together some attractive powertrain combo's. Even a Mazda 3 AWD with the 300HP EcoBoost 2.3L, manual and AWD from the Focus RS would be welcome. Even better, a factory Miata V8 with the 480 HP Coyote (i know it wont fit...) and a manual gearbox. And how about a CX-5 with a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with AWD and an chassis tuned for sport. Lots of possibilities.
  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
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